Wednesday 1-2 Scunthorpe
23/10/07 - 19:45
Scunthorpe's chant of 'Sacked in the morning, you're getting sacked in the morning!' to Owls boss Brian Laws could hardly have been more fitting to describe the inept performance from an Owls side who came in to the clash on a high following their 4-2 win at high-flying Stoke at the weekend.
But Laws and his charges, and the majority of the 21,500 crowd that gathered at Hillsborough on a cold night in South Yorkshire, came crashing back down to earth with a bang with a performance that took Owls' fans back to the dark days of League One football under Chris Turner.
Injuries or no injuries, it wasn't a pretty sight, and Wednesday were again to blame for their downfall with shoddy defending and a distinct lack of team effort in attack to blame for yet another night of letdowns in S6.
Frank Simek and Steve Watson were still unavailable for Laws through injury while Francis Jeffers started his three month spell on the sidelines through injury, giving Deon Burton another chance alongside Marcus Tudgay in the Wednesday attack.
Both sides came in to the clash full of confidence, with the Owls celebrating an impressive 4-2 victory away at Stoke, while Nigel Adkins' men had enjoyed a good start to life in the Championship following their promotion last season - largely thanks to Laws' work at the helm prior to his S6 switch.
But the opening saw chances few and far between at either end, with the Iron making it difficult for Wednesday to take a grip on the game, and the Owls' main outlet Jermaine Johnson being marked out of the early exchanges.
But Wednesday gently worked themselves in to the ascendancy, with Burton O'Brien coming close before Tudgay lashed an effort just wide of the goal from inside the box.
And the best passage of play in the game gave Wednesday the chance to open the scoring and give Deon Burton his second goal in as many games from the spot.
Some good interplay between Burton O'Brien and Tudgay saw the latter put Glenn Whelan in en route to goal, but the Scunthorpe defender committed a blatant foul right in front of the referee, who pointed to the spot.
Burton confidently stepped up and sent the Iron stopper the wrong way to put Wednesday on course for what looked to be another three points, with Scunthorpe posing little danger at the other end prior to Burton's opener.
But while Wednesday had to settle down and take control of the game, they let their visitors straight back in to level within minutes to the delight of the healthy travelling band of Scunthorpe fans.
In Scunthorpe's first dangerous attack in the Wednesday half, Andy Butler headed a fizzing cross back across the face of Lee Grant's goal, and hitman Martin Paterson was left unmarked and with acres of space to head the visitors level from point blank range.
The Owls have had a number of injury problems in recent weeks and their bad luck continued as Richard Wood was forced off injured just after the half hour mark to be replaced by Lee Bullen.
And the transformation of the clash was made complete just before the break as Paterson headed his second of the game after again being left un-marked and netting a goal in similar circumstances to his first.
The Owls' confidence was shattered, and a chorus of booing greeted them off the Hillsborough turf at half-time.
Half-Time: Wednesday 1-2 Scunthorpe
Striker Burton took a knock just before the interval, but it wasn't clear whether the Owls' goalscorer was taken off because of that, or simply because his performance wasn't up to scratch in the first 45 - probably the latter.
Akpo Sodje was the man to take his place and link up with Tudgay in the Wednesday attack.
And the change at least gave Wednesday some added presence in attack, forcing a number of corners at the start of the second 45 which gave the Wednesday faithful some hope of at least a share of the spoils.
But despite the aerial ability of Bullen, Sodje, and former United defender Richard Hinds, Wednesday failed to make their visitors pay, although Burton O'Brien had claims for a penalty waved away by the referee.
And referee Taylor more than played his fair share in a drab encounter, blowing his whistle whenever possible and giving some baffling decisions which more than rattled the Owls' players and fans alike, especially when Scunthorpe did their best to run the clock down throughout the second half.
But although Owls fans will have left Hillsborough feeling deflated, Wednesday did pose a threat in front of goal and probably should have made at least one of their second half chances count.
First, Jermaine Johnson, who was surrounded by at least two defenders throughout, managed to break free and storm in to the Scunthorpe box but his finish went blazing over the bar from a right angle when picking out one of his team-mates may have been the better option.
Then Lee Bullen smashed a volley goalwards but was found to be offside, before Graham Kavanagh neatly took a high ball and volleyed it goalwards from close range but his effort was blocked by an Iron defender as Wednesday, with the fans behind them, increased the pressure.
But Scunthorpe continued to keep the clock ticking down in the second half, and did even more so by using all three substitutions, and despite the five minutes added time at the end of the match, the Scunthorpe defence held firm to take all three points against their former gaffer.
Full-Time: Wednesday 1-2 Scunthorpe
Wednesday: Grant; Hinds, Johnson, Wood (c) (Bullen 35), Spurr; Johnson, Kavanagh, Whelan, O'Brien (Esajas 76) Burton (Sodje 45), Tudgay. Subs not used: Burch, Lunt.
Scunthorpe: Murphy, Crosby (c), Butler, Byrne; Youga, Taylor, Hurst, Goodwin, Sparrow (Williams 81), Hayes (Forte 71), Paterson (May 84). Subs not used: Lillis, Iriekpen.
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